The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in collaboration with Clark Construction Group and Perkins and Will, has successfully transformed the MetroSouth Medical Center—a shuttered hospital south of Chicago, Illinois—into an alternate care facility to treat COVID-19 patients. The re-activated facility provides 585 surge beds, including 265 high-acuity beds to support critically ill patients. Work on the fast-track project began March 30 and was delivered in 22 days.
The MetroSouth Medical Center served the Blue Island community for more than a century before closing its doors in the fall of 2019. Clark led a Design-Build team in revitalizing the once-dormant facility into a fully operational ACF, converting numerous spaces, such as the emergency department, labor and delivery and ICU, as well hospital office space, into patient bed areas. Crews also retrofit existing patient rooms with negative-pressure units to meet air change and infection control requirements, as well as reactivated the medical gas systems to support COVID-19 patients who require ventilators. Their scope also included ensuring that all 26 essential hospital systems, such as air distribution, medical gasses, telecommunications, nurse call, emergency power, life safety and electrical and water service, were inspected, repaired or replaced and fully operational.
Before closing, the MetroSouth facility operated 313 beds. The ACF project nearly doubled the hospital’s capacity. Of the nearly 600 beds, 272 have services closely matching those of an ICU to support the most critical patients.
Nearly three dozen Clark personnel, along with design partners and more than 200 craftworkers, raced to meet the project’s ambitious timeline. While the challenges of a hyper-aggressive schedule and complex scope were further magnified by efforts to maintain stringent safety protocols during the pandemic, certificate of occupancy for the project was awarded on April 21, four days ahead of schedule. The project was turned over to state officials on April 23.
The MetroSouth ACF project team also included MEP engineer Salas O’Brien, Hill Mechanical, Titan Electric, RG Construction and Consolidated Flooring.